Stately Haven for the High End in Beijing-Chang An Club

created: 2010-06-10

Product launches from top brands keep one of Beijing's top clubs in business. Chang An Club is one of the oldest high-end private clubs in Beijing, occupying 8,000 sq m in a building in one of the city's prized areas.

Like most top-end clubs, it has dining rooms, a swimming pool, spa, gym and even state-of-the-art squash facilities.

But these facilities don't make any money for the club. Instead, its main source of income comes from its banquet halls, which are used by various companies for promotions, Jade Kan, the club's marketing and membership director, said.

Kan said many brands like to launch products there as its members are generally in their target group.

Promotions and other campaigns are usually held in one of two banquet halls, each able to accommodate up to 150 people.

On March 5, for example, the Japanese lingerie brand Bonluxe released its new lines at the club. About two weeks later, the Italian brand Palizaleri held a media function in the club.

The club, established in 1993, occupies five floors of an unprepossessing 10-story building on the East Chang'an Avenue. In its lobby is a Chinese-style emperor's audience hall, with a golden folding screen and throne duplicated from the Forbidden City.

The main color inside is brown, in keeping with the status of their members.

Kan said most members are between 40 and 50. "They are all successful people in the society," she said.

Members include private entrepreneurs, top managers in multinational corporations and politicians.

The club announces its member composition on its website every December and last year, the largest group who joined came from the real estate industry. This group now accounts for 20 percent of all members. The joining fee is from 150,000 yuan ($21,960) to 450,000 yuan.

"Our member composition can reflect the economic development and the most hot business in the city," Kan said.

The club has three restaurants offering Japanese, Western and Chinese food. The chef in the Japanese restaurant is from Japan and good at Kaiseki, a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner.

The club's most famous restaurant is its Chinese restaurant, but it has been closed for renovation since the middle of 2008. It is expected to reopen in July or August.

"We continue to redecorate various parts of the club because we need to invest our profits to make sure our members have a good and proper environment," said Kan. "However, we do not want to decorate our club into luxury style."

Kan said the club stands out from other high-end clubs in Beijing because of its comfortable environment.

Its 170 employees are trained to be considerate, with at least half having worked in the club for more than 10 years and are very familiar with the members.

Although the club does not have accommodation, four hotels, including Grand Regency Hotel and the Park Plaza Beijing Wangfujing, belong to the Fu Wah International Group, which owns the club, and members can get discounts in these hotels.

Wong Lim is a club member who frequents it for business banquets and knows almost every signature dish in the club. "I know most of the managers and service staff," said Wong, who is director of Fu Wah. "The club is like a home to me."


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